Friday, December 26, 2014
Tricia McGill asks, “Who loves Boxing Day?”
It is Christmas morning as I finish writing this, but by the time you read it Christmas Day will have been and gone. I hope you all had a wonderful time with your loved ones. Here in Australia it is a warm day and the forecast is mid 20s, just right, not too hot and certainly not cold.
I don’t know if it’s something to do with growing older but one can’t help reminiscing about Christmas’s past at this time of the year. There will always be some that stand out of course.
Because I was the youngest in a large family most of my Christmas’s as a child were memorable, but one stands out from the rest. I can still relive that feeling of wonder when I awoke while it was still dark. In London that was more than likely about 6am but I guess I imagined it was still the middle of the night. The wonder was that once again Santa had been and I had slept right through his visit. I was probably about six. My sisters were still snoring alongside me. I peeped over and there by my bed was a cot for my new doll. There were various other small gifts but the cot was the stand out. This wasn’t one of those fancy ones the kids of today would receive, but a simple wooden frame with fabric stretched across it (a miniature bed really). I found out much later that one of my brothers made it.
Most of my toys were made by a brother or sister or my mother. The doll lying on it was one of those old fashioned types with a rag body and a china head. I also realized a long time later that my mother made these. The head would be bought and she would fashion the body and stuff it. The heads of these dolls had hair painted on them. Some girls would be lucky enough to receive a doll with fake hair, and my dream was to own a doll with long hair that I could actually comb. The nearest I got to this was a rag doll about 12 inches high that my two older sisters made. She had hair of cotton and the beauty of this was that it could be trimmed, or even cut really short, then when the mood took me I would simply wind yellow cotton (always yellow as my doll had to be golden haired) around a book until I had the right thickness then these strands could be sewn onto her head. I had that old rag doll for quite some time, and her hairstyle changed numerous times.
But back to Boxing Day. As much as I loved Christmas Day itself there was always something special about the day after. This was leftovers day. As I grew and all my older siblings married and left home to go their separate ways it was tradition that they come to eat the leftovers on Boxing Day. After a large lunch the men would doze while the womenfolk cleared away the mess left behind. Come evening there would be another party. We would gather around Aunt Flo’s old piano while she banged out a tune. Each member of my family had a song they called their own. My favorite was and will always be my mother’s. It went: "You wish me to forget you, you say 'tis best we part; When all my life I've loved you in return you break my heart ...” I can still hear her clear voice. No great singer; but she knew every word of this beautiful ballad, and touched our hearts with her rendition.
The tradition remains in our family—Boxing Day is still special. Most of my family have passed on sadly, but I will always have memories to treasure and hope you are making wonderful memories at this special time of the year.
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